HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THIS CAUSE/LINE OF WORK/CAREER?
Concerning my career as a cafe owner, I first made plans for a cafe back in 2006, while I was in a junior accounting position for a drilling company. I came up with a working business plan and then began my journey in coffee to build applicable work experience.
Now concerning my life aspiration as an everything girl, I started as soon as I was able to grab an electronic and break it apart. I have an insatiable obsession with finding out how everything and anything works. I would break everything apart, inspect the insides, then attempt to assemble everything back together. Failing only meant that I had to go out and develop more knowledge and skills. My dad always encourage research and self discovery.
WHAT IS THE MOST FULFILLING PART OF YOUR WORK?
I always aim to inspire people through positive action, so whenever I'm told that my work has inspired people to improve themselves, my heart just swells up with so, so much happiness.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK, FAMILY, AND OTHER COMMITMENTS?
I am terrible at managing my commitments on my own. That's why I work closely with a great team. Together, we have learned to ask each other for help even when we "think" we can handle it all ourselves, be open to all kinds of criticism so we can continue to improve ourselves, be willing to debate our biases and decisions, and take up each other's work so we could pursue other life goals. I am so grateful for my team, which includes my husband, my cafe business partner, and my best friend. I wouldn't have been able to achieve as much without their hands on support and honesty.
WHAT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I grew up in very poor conditions. During my early childhood, my family house was furnished with used, broken restaurant furniture. If our uncooked food staples became infested with bugs, my parents would cook and serve it anyway - it was either that or starve. I was grateful many mornings for the free breakfasts provided by United Way at my elementary school.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FAMILY?
I consider family to be the people that I hold on to the hardest and people who hold onto me the hardest. These people have never failed to help me grow, even when I've given up or when I'm arrogant enough to believe that I'm done improving.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
My greatest accomplishment is my cafe. It is a wonderful show of my skills as an everything girl. I've utilized every talent that I have to bring life to this dream, including skills from accounting to marketing to fashion design. From the start, I wanted to create a legacy business and Latte Art Love is making its way to that level.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FAILURE AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
My greatest failure was believing that tolerating an abusive life just because I was too afraid to journey through life on my own. It was a terrible circle - tolerate abuse, lose confidence, then withdraw more from the world, resulting in more time to be abused. I was so afraid of becoming independent and then failing at everything and proving my abusers right: I was good for nothing. When I finally realized that failure was a part of life and was a chance for gaining more knowledge and skill development, I jumped into the world like a whirlwind. A failure isn't an end to prove someone's poor opinion of me as correct; it was a step closer to show him or her that I could do anything and be anything I want.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING 5 YEARS AGO? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOURSELF AT THAT TIME?
Five years ago, I was newly engaged to a wonderful man and was dealing with the failure of one of my business ventures. My advice to myself would be "always ask your hubby for his opinion and advice on everything important - he's incredibly smart, objectively critical, and unimaginable supportive - you can't do EVERYTHING on your own".
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 5 YEARS? HOW DO YOU THINK YOU WILL GET THERE?
Five years from now, I would like to see more in-house Latte Art Love cafes, serving coffee in community spaces just like Arche loft, Canada's first wearables lab. I'm all about feeding that spark that will ignite creativity and innovation. We are going to continue ensuring that our cafes are sources of inspiration, by wowing our coffee lovers with one-of-a-kind coffee art and showing that beautiful creations can be produced from even the most mundane things. We also will continue to support local start-up projects - after all that's exactly how we started.
WHAT PIECE OF LIFE ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO SAYS THEY WANT TO FOLLOW IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS?
Exploring every facet of life is a great thing. I've gained so many skills, but I'm no expert at all of them. I never expected to be a master at everything I laid my hands on. Know what you're awesome at, be proud, and be willing to let the skills that you are poor at fall to the wayside. That way you can better develop your best skills.
DO YOU HAVE GENERAL LIFE ADVICE?
Take the time to find your true happiness - something that you do for others that gains you even more happiness than the one you've helped. It could be anything! It could be as silly and as simple as serving someone a perfect latte.
About Elle's Jewelry: